Photography by Michael Heller
By Kathryn G. Menu
Incumbent North Haven trustee Jeff Sander and current planning board chairman Arthur “Jim” Laspesa were elected to the North Haven Village Board during Tuesday night’s election.
Sander, 71, captured his fourth term as trustee with a total of 173 votes followed by Laspesa who earned a total of 172 votes to secure his first term on the board.
Sander tapped Laspesa, 65, a local architect and current chairman of the North Haven Village Planning Board to run with him on the North Haven Party line.
Challenger Mary Whelan, 56, earned a total of 74 votes on the Daffodil Party line.
There was also one write-in vote for North Haven resident Ken Baralo.
According to North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch, a total of 214 votes were cast at the polls, with eight absentee ballots also filed for Tuesday’s election, which was for two, two-year terms on the village board.
The village board remains without a mayor following the resignation of Laura Nolan earlier this spring.
On Wednesday morning, Sander said the village board will need to make a decision on who it would like to nominate into that position — whether a member of the current board or a member of the community.
“It’s up to the board, but certainly we will have an opportunity for residents to weigh in on that issue,” said Sander.
The next North Haven Village Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2 at 5 p.m.
Sander was grateful for re-election and said he felt it was evidence the board is working on behalf of the community.
“We work hard and try to represent the village,” he said. “Jim has a tremendous amount of experience in the village, has lived here a long time, has a great attitude about zoning and planning and will bring a lot to the board.”
Sander said the issue of deer population and tick borne illnesses will continue to be at the forefront for the village board, which is expected to roll out an ad-hoc committee report detailing what options the village has moving forward.
“It’s important the public understand what our options are and that we can’t implement all of those options without the community’s support,” he said.
Laspesa agreed the deer population was going to be an ongoing issue, but said he is ready to get to work.
“It feels great,” he said on Wednesday of his election, adding he has reached out to Whelan and encouraged her to stay involved in village government.
And she intends to.
“I will be attending more meetings and participating more,” said Whelan on Wednesday, who noted she had reached out to both Laspesa and Sander and offered her congratulations. “I have learned a lot from this experience. I met a lot of new people, a lot of new neighbors and got a feel for what residents think about what is going on in North Haven. So this wasn’t for nothing.”